We're fresh off the back of the official pre-season test at Valencia’s Circuit Ricardo Tormo, where all 22 drivers and 11 teams out on-track together for the first, and only, time before we head to Mexico City for the opening round of the 2023/24 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship on 13 January.
Combined totals of 4,960 laps and 16,745km were accumulated by drivers and rookies who took to the track alongside the main team drivers ahead of Season 10. That included Gabriela Jílkova, who became the first woman to drive the GEN3 with a 46-lap run as TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team rookie.
Mitch Evans set the fastest time of the week in the very first session as the Jaguar TCS Racing driver’s 1m24.474s outpaced Maximilian Guenther’s 2022 record by more than half a second. In fact, the top seven runners on Tuesday morning were all inside the quickest time set by Guenther in the new GEN3 race car when it was introduced in pre-season testing a year ago.
Making his on-track debut for Jaguar TCS Racing, Nick Cassidy set the quickest lap time on Friday of 1m24.617s, stopping Evans from claiming the top time in all three sessions. Without doubt, Jaguar are throwing down the gauntlet before Season 10 begins in Mexico City in January. What’s more, they are setting the scene for an epic battle between the compatriots who share a garage and the intense desire to win a first ABB FIA Formula E World Championship title.
A 10-hour session on Friday began with a 27-lap race simulation giving teams and drivers the ability to test a full race program including the first run-throughs for fast-charging pitstops, as well as caution and Safety Car periods.
Envision Racing’s Robin Frijns led the pack over the line at the chequered flag having made it by TAG Heuer Porsche’s Antonio Felix da Costa in the final few laps. Evans also pushed past the Portuguese to finish second.
Da Costa finished the week with his quickest lap time matching Cassidy’s while Sebastien Buemi was the fourth fastest with 1m24.641s.
Maximilian Günther had been quickest in three of the last four tests in the Spanish city and the Maserati MSG Racing driver had set the pace last year. This time, he finished fifth with 1m24.658s.
Mahindra Racing's Edoardo Mortara was next with 1m24.701s. This was a remarkable effort by the team given the challenges they faced following damage to some of their support equipment after a localised fire in the pit lane earlier in the week.
Defending Formula E world champion, Jake Dennis, driving the No.1 car for Andretti Formula E team finished in 12th spot with a best time of 1min24.827s.
Rookie Barnard set the timesheets alight to go top at around the half-way stage of the opening session, driving Sam Bird's NEOM McLaren. The rookie steered to a 1m24.929s, which was well within Maximilian Guenther's fastest time from the Valencia test last season (a 1m25.127s).
Several more rookies jumped into the cockpit over the first morning's running, with Barnard the quickest of the bunch. Robert Shwartzman wound up 17th for DS PENSKE, Victor Martins was 19th in the Nissan with Luca Ghiotto in the sister car 20th and Zane Maloney was 21st for Andretti.
Gabriela Jílkova, then became the first woman to drive the GEN3 with a 46-lap run as TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team rookie on Thursday.